Arthur Bugs Baer

I am a retired investment manager with an odd middle name. Google “Bugs Baer” and you get about 20,000 hits for my father, a well-known humorist from the pre-WWII era. I chose not to follow him as a writer, and instead went to Harvard College, then the Navy, then Harvard Business School. My first twelve years were spent introducing new brands of soap and toothpaste for Procter & Gamble and for Colgate-Palmolive. Ever used Palmolive dishwashing liquid? That was my baby.

Then came a personal revelation: I was not interested in managing hierarchical organizations, I was interesting in managing investments, which is a non-hierarchical activity. “Know thyself,” said Socrates. I was a slow learner, but finally I did. It is important to find out where you fit best in the world. Will you work your way up the ladder of a hierarchy- a corporation, a government department, a university administration, as examples? Or will you be basically a solo practitioner- a surgeon, an artist, an attorney, an investment manager?

For about forty years I followed varied investment opportunities- real estate, commodity fund management (I was one of the founders of that activity), venture capital, and others, working often alone, and sometimes with others. The worst mistake of my career was choosing a partner who turned out to be (I have to be careful here) unsatisfactory. If someone would like to talk about careers in finance, I have a number of aging insights to share. I can be reached at ABUrsus@aol.com

Along the way, I was introduced to sailboat racing, something the Navy neglected to teach. The participants are almost all number-crunching, engineering types, and the racing itself is not so much physically demanding as it is mentally complex. Outside the Olympics, males and females race together without any compensating scoring differentials; the crews I sail with are almost always mixed. Also, age is a minor factor, so major ocean races are often won by sailors in their late decades. I’ll keep doing it until, one day, the body will say “no mas.”